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December 16, 2021 — When Deborah Hux began supporting Morris Animal Foundation in 2009, she didn’t know the connection would save her cats’ lives.

“I always knew it was a wonderful organization,” said Deborah. “But I didn’t realize that a study funded by the Foundation would literally save my Rhea and Mia.”

Like so many donors, it was an appearance by the incomparable Betty White that first introduced Deborah to the Foundation via a fundraising event in Deborah’s hometown of Williamsburg, Virginia. Around the time of the fundraiser, two beautiful kittens, Rhea and Mia, entered Deborah’s life. However, when Deborah brought her kittens home, she quickly knew something was wrong – both had intestinal problems that were resistant to treatment.

Deborah read about Foundation-funded work on a little-known intestinal parasite of cats – Tritrichomonas foetus – and she and her veterinarian contacted the researcher. The research team, based at North Carolina State University, gave Deborah and her veterinarian, Dr. Robb Murphy, instructions on how to make the diagnosis from a fecal sample. T. foetus is a cagey organism and can be a real challenge to find in feces. However, Deborah and Robb kept trying and were able to find the organisms. Rhea and Mia got the right diagnosis and recovered.

Most companion animals will develop a disease or injury in their lifetimes, and sometimes those problems can be life-threatening. It’s at those critical moments that cutting-edge research can help. Deborah understands how research leads to better outcomes for pets and their people. She also has a keen awareness of the funding necessary to make this a reality.

“It’s because of foundations such as Morris Animal Foundation that pets’ lives are enriched,” said Deborah. “Researchers at universities depend on grants to help them make the discoveries that touch every pet owner. Morris Animal Foundation truly cares about animals. And not just cats, but all animals!”